Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly

Remember when people were talking about Facebook’s pending demise, how the youth were turning away, how people were abandoning the platform in droves. Actually, those kinds of stories come up every few months, but despite such reports, Facebook’s actual user data provides a very different picture.

Today, The Social Network has reported its latest audience and revenue numbers, and they show, once again, that the platform is only going from strength-to-strength.

First off, on user numbers – over the last quarter, Facebook has increased its daily active users by four million to 1.32 billion, and their monthly active user total by seven million to a massive 2.01 billion.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media TodayFacebook became the first social network to reach the two billion user milestone last month, but equally impressive here is the engagement level in line with that growth. Looking at the monthly and daily active user comparison, you can see that as Facebook continues to expand their audience, those users remain just as active – the daily active percentage is very slightly down in this report, but remains at 66% in overall terms, which is an amazing result.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media TodayNot only is Facebook adding more users, but those users are coming back, time and time again – and at two billion users, the majority of internet-connected people in the world are now active on Facebook. It’s impossible to deny The Social Network’s ubiquity.

In terms of revenue growth, Facebook posted a $9.32 billion result for the quarter – up 44.7% year-over year.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media TodayThat’s down on the growth levels registered in Q2 2016 (59%), which could be due to Facebook reaching its ad limit in the News Feed, something the company flagged last year (and reiterated in today’s earnings announcement). That means Facebook will need to find alternate sources of revenue to continue their growth – as you can see from the results, the company’s performance is strong, but in order to push the momentum, they’ll be looking to alternative options, like Facebook at Work, video ads (though rumors are circulating that Facebook’s looking to move away from mid-roll video ads), expanding their exclusive video content efforts and potentially, new AR-based options.

On the video content front, specifically, Bloomberg has reported that Facebook’s looking to kick-start its new, TV-style content push in August:

“The company is funding a set of original programs, expected to be displayed outside of a user’s news feed in a new video section that’s intended to give the company a greater cut of the $70 billion television advertising market.”

The move has been rumored for some time – Facebook first showed off their coming video tab in October 2015, with a dedicated section for video within the app.

It’s since been made available to some users, but a wider roll-out is the expected next step. Given the figures here, you’d expect Facebook to make a move on this sooner rather than later, and it’ll be interesting to see what other ad options the platform provides in conjunction with their newer offerings.

In terms of regional growth, Facebook saw the biggest revenue expansion in the APAC and ‘Rest of the World’ markets.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media TodayFacebook’s international expansion gives them significant advantage in beating out competitors, as Snap Inc. is currently finding out (more below), and their ability to port the platform into new regions is also key to their ongoing growth. Facebook will be very keen to continue their expansion in India, while China, where some thought Facebook had an improving chance of being unblocked, may actually be getting further beyond the realm of possibility given their more recent moves to ban live-streaming.

Also worthy of note: 87% of Facebook’s ad revenue now comes from mobile advertising, up from 84% a year ago.

In the accompanying earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status (the app’s version of Stories which they launched in February) are now seeing more than 250 million daily users – a strong endorsement of their Snapchat-cloning efforts. While many were surprised that Facebook would so blatantly copy Snapchat’s ‘Stories’ model, it’s hard to argue with the numbers – while the growth of WhatsApp Stories is particularly relevant, given the app’s reach in international markets.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media Today

Whatsapp Status

On Messenger, Zuckerberg noted that their monetization efforts are not moving as fast as they had hoped, but that he remains confident they’re on the right track. It’s no secret that Facebook’s Messenger Bots haven’t taken off as they seemed to expect, but the opportunities for bots continue to expand, with Facebook rolling out more features to help promote and facilitate bot growth. Time will tell if they become a more significant revenue option – while Facebook also recently rolled out Messenger ads to all users.

Zuckberg also talked about their investments in their Aquila drone technology and new and expanded data centers, which have increased their costs but are necessary for future development.

COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke about the business progress on Facebook, providing an expanded overview of their results, and talking up new opportunities.

Sandberg noted that there are now more than 70 million businesses active on Facebook, and 15 million business profiles on Instagram – up from the 8 million Instagram business profiles reported back in March.

Facebook Q2 2017 Numbers – Users Up Again, but Revenue Growth Slowing Slightly | Social Media TodayInstagram launched business profiles in June last year, and the rapid growth in their use underlines the rising relevance of the platform.

Sandberg also noted the growth and opportunities of video on Facebook, underlining the capacity for Facebook video to foster enhanced ‘connections, conversations and communities’.

Sandberg also highlighted the opportunity of short-form ‘snackable’ video content on the platform, and the rising opportunity of Instagram Stories ads, which they’re looking to expand on.

Overall, it’s another impressive earnings result for Facebook, further underlining the platform’s position as the leader in the field, and hinting at some future developments on their ad development front – though few details were actually provided on how these new options might work (and when we might see them).

The world’s largest social media platform continues to get bigger, and continues to beat out rivals – something which looks set to continue, given the vast resources Zuck and Co are accumulating over time.

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How to Write Better Ad Copy Using Reviews + Ngrams

How to Write Better Ad Copy Using Reviews + Ngrams

Wanna skip right to the tools? Check em’ out here

Recently, at Mozcon I presented a session on how to scrape reviews and run word clouds or Ngram analyzers. This was part of a larger presentation on understanding the “why” or the intent behind the searcher.

I recommended scraping reviews from Amazon using the tools below, and then using word clouds / Ngram analyzers (you can see in the video below) to get a feel for why people may give you higher ratings and reviews vs. your competitors. Those reviews are a goldmine when it comes to understanding a person’s “why”.  

Once you have that data, you can alter meta descriptions and get huge results.  You can also use these findings to write better ad copy and landing pages for PPC, as well. (So,  PPC’ers and CRO’s… there’s value for you here, too!)

On the flipside, if you are someone who bids on competitor names and don’t mind being a bit aggressive, you could also check the reviews that have bad ratings. Then, in your competitive ads or landing pages, you could remind people to check out specific return, guarantee, or other policies. For instance, in my presentation, I pointed to the return policies offered by Lessa vs. Purple Mattress companies when I was checking for ad copy ideas.

Don’t stop here at B2C! For the B2B folks, there are review sites that work for B2B, as well, with a custom scraper (sorry, no tools that I know of) to scrape top B2B review sites.  As I mentioned in the video, doctor sites, healthcare, restaurants, hotels, and more are all there for the scraping.  If the idea of a custom scrape is a little scary for you, the Data Miner Chrome (Thanks Scott & Christina) extension has many pre-built recipes like this one for Trustpilot and other sites (see below). 

 

 

Well, here’s the full tutorial. I hope all of you write strong headlines, ad copy, and landing pages that better connect with what people like and don’t like to boost those CTRs.

VIDEO

 

via Seer Interactive Read More…

How to Write Better Ad Copy Using Reviews + Ngrams

How to Write Better Ad Copy Using Reviews + Ngrams

Wanna skip right to the tools? Check em’ out here

Recently, at Mozcon I presented a session on how to scrape reviews and run word clouds or Ngram analyzers. This was part of a larger presentation on understanding the “why” or the intent behind the searcher.

I recommended scraping reviews from Amazon using the tools below, and then using word clouds / Ngram analyzers (you can see in the video below) to get a feel for why people may give you higher ratings and reviews vs. your competitors. Those reviews are a goldmine when it comes to understanding a person’s “why”.  

Once you have that data, you can alter meta descriptions and get huge results.  You can also use these findings to write better ad copy and landing pages for PPC, as well. (So,  PPC’ers and CRO’s… there’s value for you here, too!)

On the flipside, if you are someone who bids on competitor names and don’t mind being a bit aggressive, you could also check the reviews that have bad ratings. Then, in your competitive ads or landing pages, you could remind people to check out specific return, guarantee, or other policies. For instance, in my presentation, I pointed to the return policies offered by Lessa vs. Purple Mattress companies when I was checking for ad copy ideas.

Don’t stop here at B2C! For the B2B folks, there are review sites that work for B2B, as well, with a custom scraper (sorry, no tools that I know of) to scrape top B2B review sites.  As I mentioned in the video, doctor sites, healthcare, restaurants, hotels, and more are all there for the scraping.  If the idea of a custom scrape is a little scary for you, the Data Miner Chrome (Thanks Scott & Christina) extension has many pre-built recipes like this one for Trustpilot and other sites (see below). 

 

 

Well, here’s the full tutorial. I hope all of you write strong headlines, ad copy, and landing pages that better connect with what people like and don’t like to boost those CTRs.

VIDEO

 

via SEER Interactive Read More…

6 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business Right Now

6 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business Right Now

6 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business Right Now

Let’s get it straight from the start: entrepreneurship is not easy.

Don’t run head first into something that you’re not prepared to handle. Being an entrepreneur takes more time and effort than any other job.

You’re directly responsible for your actions and every mistake can become a costly setback for you and your idea. With that being said, you should know that it’s still the right time to start your own business. Not tomorrow, not next week. Right now.

Entrepreneurship won’t get easier as time passes. You won’t face less competition or fewer hardships if you keep postponing your dream.

If you’re here, you probably already have an idea that’s worth sharing with the world. So stop wasting time and start making progress towards your dream.

1. It will be the best time of your life

This is probably the biggest and most important reason why you should start your company right away. However hard it may be, at the end of the day, you’re going to be spending the best days of your life while working towards your goal.

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth spending time and effort to do. Especially when it comes to doing something that you love: working for a dream.

Entrepreneurs are the rockstars of the business world. I don’t know about you, but me and most of my friends always dreamt of becoming rockstars, even if only for a day.

Starting your own company will transform you into the rockstar that you deserve to be. If you’re not living your life to the fullest already, the moment you start believing and working towards achieving your goal is the moment you’ll realize that all the failures, victories, uncertainties, and events will be the ones that drive you forward.

2. You have the power and liberty to create anything

Creativity can be lost along the way in many professions. Rarely do I hear people saying that they’ve had the liberty to create a new product or service from scratch.

You don’t need to run your ideas by various staff members and project managers. You might have a great idea written on a torn piece of paper on your desk. Make that happen by starting your own business and building upon it.

There’s a great chance that your idea will have an impact on the lives of the people around you. Whether it’s a new product, a new service, or it’s just the way you’re going to do it that differs from what’s being done right now, the effort is worth it.

Thanks to social media, you’re closer to the world than ever before. The farthest point in the world is only a few clicks away. To put it in perspective, this infographic from Search Engine Journal will show you just how many people you can reach online. Reaching even 0.1% of these people is more than enough to have one of the most successful businesses in the world.

3. The connections you make will last a lifetime

Although the list is in no particular order, the connections you will make as an entrepreneur are stronger than the usual relationships that you have with your friends. That’s because even though you’re not working in the same field, you’re facing the same obstacles.

Plus, the friends that you make will be there for you in times of need, just as you’ll be there for them. Not once has an entrepreneur been able to keep moving forward with their idea without the help of their fellow entrepreneurs.

Regardless of how much you prepare for the future, starting a new company will always bring unexpected events into play. The expertise of other entrepreneurs can easily prove to be life-saving, even though they may not work in the same field. Sometimes, you have to think outside the box, and surrounding yourself with entrepreneurs working in other domains can be just as lucrative for you as it is for them. 5 years from now, you’ll be able to look back at all the obstacles you’ve overcome together.

4. It’s cheap if you have the right plan

A decade ago, starting your own company would have cost you an arm and a leg. Today, not only is it cheaper to find hardware solutions to cover your initial needs, but software might even be free. If you can’t find a free solution for your needs, chances are there’s someone you can talk to about it.

Setting up your company has never been easier. Specialized company formation agents are available in just a few clicks. The biggest advantage is that such an agent can take away most of the legal and bureaucratic work, allowing you to focus on more important issues.

When it comes to software, there are hundreds of frameworks and databases that can suit your needs. If you come to think about it, the most expensive point on your list is going to be your time. You’ll have to invest a lot of time into your new company but you reap what you sow, so get going!

5. New customer acquisition has never been easier

Getting new customers is a challenge for any company, big or small. What used to be one of the biggest challenges for a new company is now easily achievable with little effort.

Getting an initial customer base is made easier by the wide variety of available customer acquisition channels. Since almost everyone in the world is online, developing several online marketing strategies will help you get started. Blogs, search engine marketing, targeted ads, and email marketing are just a handful of channels that you should focus on right from the start.

Once your company starts growing, you can invest in other conventional strategies, such as PR, affiliate programs, viral marketing, and so on. What’s important is to always continue to improve and develop your customer acquisition strategies. This will ensure a constant stream of new customers looking to buy from you.

6. You will be your own boss from the start

Being your own boss sounds fantastic, as long as your company is making a profit and you don’t have to worry about not being able to put food on the table tomorrow.

Ten years ago, it would have been almost impossible to start a new company without having saved up enough money first. Today, you can be your own boss even if you have limited funds.

Depending on the type of business that you’re starting, there are multiple ways through which you can gain a decent profit and work your way up. The most important thing to remember is that although being your own boss allows certain freedoms, you can’t put the company on hold. You have to keep working hard at all times.

Guest Author: Stefan Paulo is a young entrepreneur. He is passionate about digital technologies and trying to implement them in the sphere of education. He observes all the news connected with online tools and is always ready to discuss them.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are the author’s and have been edited in accordance with our strict editorial guidelines.

The post 6 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Business Right Now appeared first on Jeffbullas’s Blog.

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25 Revealing Questions You Must Ask New SEO Clients by @tomdemers

25 Revealing Questions You Must Ask New SEO Clients by @tomdemers

Over the last 10 years, I’ve worked as a marketing director, a consultant, and the owner of a small consulting business. In that time I’ve hired a number of vendors for various projects, and I’ve also been the vendor for a number of companies as well.

One huge mistake I’ve made both as the vendor and as the client:

Under-communicating at the outset of an engagement.

Clients bringing in SEO consultants are almost certainly busy. This is likely part of the reason they went ahead and hired you as an external consultant or consulting company in the first place. They’ve probably spent a lot of time working through the process of researching the best way to hire and evaluate an SEO and may have waded through a few different options for vendors.

In an ideal world, you as the consulting company would know all the right questions to ask.

However, with the first handful of clients I worked with, it might be difficult to learn what I didn’t know about the client. Likewise, I’ve also worked with some vendors who got started with little to no intake process whatsoever.

You may not be able to anticipate every question you’ll have or every bit of information you’ll need from a client at the outset of an SEO engagement, but there are some stock questions that will only require a small amount of time on the client’s part that can give you a large head start and help avoid miscommunication at the pass.

I’ve outlined a series of questions you as the SEO vendor likely want to get answered, the information you’ll want the client to share, and accounts you’ll need access to.


Accounts You Need to Access

Adding a new user in Google Search Console

Getting access to important data is a crucial first step in the SEO process. If you’re doing regular reporting, a technical SEO audit, and/or content promotion and link outreach, you’ll likely need access to a combination of the following:

  • Google Search Console: These accounts provide a ton of useful SEO information (e.g., detailed search analytics data) that can be crucial in diagnosing indexation issues or errors with XML sitemaps
  • Google Analytics: Similarly, you’ll also obviously want to monitor and measure traffic fluctuations.
  • Google AdWords: This process has a few steps and can be a bit annoying for the client, but getting granular pay-per-click search query data can be useful for an SEO (you should probably know your way around your own AdWords account as well).
  • Additional Analytics Accounts: If your client uses a tool like Omniture, again having access there will be valuable.
  • Company Email: If you’ll be doing link outreach/content promotion on your client’s behalf, getting an email from the company (e.g. your.name@example.com) can help with response rates.
  • Access to CMS: If you’ll be making updates on your client’s site, getting early CMS access can also be helpful (just make sure you clearly communicate what you’ll be updating and when).
  • Access to Log Files: If you’re performing a technical SEO audit, you may want access to the log files for your client’s site.

If your primary client contact doesn’t have access to these, encourage them to find out who within their company has the ability to take care of these things upfront. The more of these items you can have access to at the start of an engagement, the quicker you’ll be able to offer recommendations, get them implemented, and get new content live and promoted so that you can start delivering visible results.


Questions You Need to Ask

So what’s useful information for you as an SEO?

Information About the Client’s Business

You have expertise in SEO. Hopefully, you also have a general understanding of business fundamentals, but you won’t know many of the specifics of your client’s business. Understanding their company’s goals and underlying business objectives is key for any SEO. Here are some helpful questions to ask your client to get those all-important specific details

1. Which actions on the site are most important to you?

Is it webinar sign ups, white paper downloads, free trials, newsletter sign-ups, form submits, or something else?

2. Are there any specific dollar values or relative levels of importance you assign to activities on the site?

For instance, does the client place an estimated value on white paper sign-ups based on historical conversion rates and the value of a lead/opportunity?

3. Are there sections of the site that are more valuable/higher priority than others?

If so, what are they?

4. Who is your target audience or ideal customer? 

Encourage your client to overshare here — ask them to send specific persona materials, information about how specific buyers use their products, etc.

5. Can you list out any specific industries or sectors you want to target?

If this applicable to your client.

6. What are your company’s unfair advantages?

For instance:

  • Why do your best customers choose you?
  • What problems do you solve for them?
  • What’s different about you than your competitors?

7. What are some key reasons your best prospects don’t choose you?

What does their largest competitor do well that they struggle with?

8. What does success for the engagement look like?

Is it:

  • Specific traffic numbers?
  • Lead or sales volume?
  • Rankings?

Hopefully, your client won’t just say rankings! If they do, ask for some additional success metrics, and provide some suggestions if needed.


Known Issues & Problems

If there are known tracking or SEO issues (or just things your client vaguely suspects could be problems), you’ll want to know about them.

Here are some questions to ask your client that can uncover some of the more common issues:

9. Is there something you suspect “isn’t quite right” in your data?

For example, were there instances when analytics code wasn’t installed or firing properly on part of the site? Does your client have older Google Analytics goals that likely aren’t representative of the actual actions you value on your site?

You, as an SEO, should be able to help fix these issues. At the very least, knowing about these issues gives you the knowledge that some of the data you’re analyzing may not be reliable.

10. Are there other domains you own?

If your client has a community micro-site or a dedicated site for a specific event they run (or even used to run), it would be helpful for you to know about it.

11. Are there “copies” of your site that may live elsewhere on the web?

For instance:

  • Do you have a staging server?
  • Does the .net version of your domain show all of your content?
  • Do you have translated international versions of your site’s content?

12. Has the site been penalized (to your knowledge)? If there’s been a significant traffic drop in the past, do you know or suspect why that may have occurred?

Even if your client didn’t get an explicit notification within Google Search Console and they just have suspicions about why their site has been penalized, you’re going to want to know.

Your client may be way off base about why their traffic dropped, but if that’s the case, you should be able to recognize that what they’ve suspected isn’t likely to be the actual issue, and what they share may point you in the right direction.


SEO History

Beyond just asking about known issues, getting general information about the SEO work that’s been done is also helpful. Even if your client thinks their last SEO was great (or just OK) and there aren’t any major issues they’re aware of, deliberately outlining the work that’s been done to date is extremely helpful to you as a new SEO stepping into the mix. Here are some items you can ask for:

13. What link building have you or any vendor done in the past?

Encourage your client to be as specific as possible — if they have lists of links and/or descriptions of activity from previous vendors, ask them to share them. If their old marketing manager used to oversee this and your client knows they built some links but aren’t sure where they came from, ask them to try to obtain a list or get a general sense of what types of links they were.

14. Share your perspective on possible keyword targets. Are there certain terms you think would work particularly well?

Ask your client if there is anything they think may seem relevant but that they’re sure wouldn’t drive quality traffic/leads. You may need to push back or determine that the client’s ideal keywords are too competitive for their site’s age and authority, but at least you’ll have a better understanding of their expectations and your client will better understand your reasoning for targeting specific terms.

15. Are there any technical issues or sections of the site you’d like us to pay particular attention to?

If your client thinks everything about their documentation is working fine but that’s a key area of the site for them, you need to know. If the client recently moved any section of their site to new URLs or to/off a subdomain, even if they think everything went great and there are no issues, again, you need to know.

16. Do you have any reporting, keyword research, and audit information from previous SEOs you’ve worked with?

If they did a great job, that information will be helpful. Even if they weren’t happy with their work, knowing precisely what activities the client wasn’t happy with and having access to the reporting and updates the client received from other SEO vendors is vital information. This will help you understand what that last company was working on, why the client was dissatisfied, and how you can better deliver for them.


Capacity

You need to understand which of your recommendations are likely to be implemented quickly and which aren’t. Start with triage – focus on things that have high impact and are quick to implement.

In mapping out an overall project plan, it makes sense to tailor the work you do, the types and volume of content assets you create, etc. to a company’s capacity to implement changes, get content live on their site, and support promotion.

You can better understand where you should focus your time and energy by asking your client the following questions:

17. Who will be responsible for and available to make technical updates to the site (such as implementing redirects, making on-page enhancements to increase page load times, etc.)?

If your client has a backlog of development projects and has limited development resources, you want to know upfront that there may be bandwidth or turnaround issues with resources.

This can help you prioritize tasks or maybe offer a recommendation for development help – or, perhaps you even have that capacity in-house.

18. What is your planned content schedule (if you have one)? Who will be creating content for your site and how much content do they plan to create (a blog post a day, an in-depth article once a month, nothing consistently, etc.)?

You may want to help with topic ideation here, and the volume of content your client is planning on creating may impact the topics that you tackle for SEO as well as potentially impacting your recommendations around site organization and information architecture.

19. How do you plan to promote new content?

Find out what your client’s content promotion process looks like and who is involved (social media specialists, their PR firm, etc.) so you can best understand how to maximize new and existing content on the site and build a plan that will fit with your client’s current promotion strategies.


Keyword Research & Content Ideation

You’re likely going to work through a lengthy process for making keyword targeting recommendations and doing content topic ideation. Jump-start that process by getting some specific information by asking these questions:

20. Are there sites you’d label as your biggest “competitors”?

This could mean sites competing with your client in search results for terms they want to rank highly on, and/or companies in their niche who they think are doing a great job with branding and/or online marketing.

Your client’s competitors can often be a good starting point for content ideation, so this is an important question to ask.

21. Are there any publications/websites that are frequently read by your target audience?

This is particularly helpful for topic ideation. Ask them who their team is reading and who the go-to publications in their niche are.

Similarly, find out if any specific articles and/or topics resonated particularly well with the client’s target audience (gone somewhat “viral” within their niche, been frequently linked to and cited by popular writers and influencers, etc.).

22. What would you identify as the conferences that your prospects would be most likely to attend (if any)?

Can your client identify any tracks/talks their prospects would be particularly interested in. Conference organizers are looking to put together an agenda that’s interesting to their prospects. If there’s a conference that your client generates a lot of great prospects from, the tracks and keynote speakers there could be great fodder for topic ideation and may lead to some interesting potential keyword targets.

23. What are some subreddits and/or forums that people in your industry (and/or inside your company) read frequently?

24. Who would you identify as “thought leaders” in your space?

These are speakers and writers who your prospects are especially likely to trust and look to for information.

All of this information will help you better understand your client’s niche and their prospects, as well as help yield better keyword and topic recommendations.


What Did I Miss?

The final bit of information to ask your clients is an answer to the question that we always close our SEO audit intake form with:

  1. Is there anything else we should know or that you’d like us to focus on?

Again: Encourage your clients to leave their shyness at the door!


Summary

Encourage them to include any additional information they think may be helpful such as goals, internal expectations beyond their team for the project, areas of concern, things they perceive as strengths about their site’s SEO that they want to make sure they don’t lose traction on, additional questions they hope to get answers to as a result of an initial audit.

The better you communicate with your clients from the start, the better your results are likely to be.

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

How to Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term in Digital Marketing by @malleeblue

How to Avoid Burnout & Survive Long Term in Digital Marketing by @malleeblue

Organizations are demanding ever higher performance from their digital marketing teams. People are trying to comply, but the usual method – putting in longer hours – has backfired.

Employees are becoming exhausted, disengaged, and sick. And they’re defecting to healthier job environments.

The obvious difficulty here is that time is not an infinite commodity. You can only work so many “longer hours,” before you run out of hours altogether.

Why is Burnout So Common in Digital Marketing?

Meet Andrew. Andrew is 46 years old and works as an SEO and digital marketing consultant. Up until recently, Andrew was working 14 to 16 hours a day. Tired and exhausted he was able to fully engage with his own family in the evenings and found it difficult to sleep before midnight.

His meals throughout the day were fast food, often eaten in the car or at his desk. His emotional stability, creativity, and temperament had begun to suffer.

Andrew’s experience is not uncommon among those who work in the digital marketing industry.

Emails, notifications, phone calls, client demands and staff training demand our attention and exhaust the limited time we have each day.

Using the figures on stress related experiences–a precursor to burnout–from Statista, we can see that the top four reasons are all related to work. Whether it’s the money, we are earning from our work, our own perfectionist expectations or anxiety in trying to balance work and family life.

stress related workplace

Andrew’s experience is common among those running or working as freelancers in search or social media marketing. The result is declining creativity and declining levels of interaction compounded by increasing distraction and damaging routines.

To survive long term in search and social media marketing, agencies and freelancers need to shift their focus from time management to resource management. And the number one resource that anyone working in this industry has is themselves (and their staff).

And here is the really interesting thing: Putting in fewer hours and more effort into your emotional and psychological well-being actually results in greater productivity.

1. More Sleep, Greater Clarity

In a 2011 Stanford research project, research facilitator, Cheri D. Mah discovered that when male basketball players were able to sleep 10 hours a night, their performance on the court was significantly improved. Among the curious findings: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased on average by almost 10 percent.

One of the ways you can get back into an, “early to bed early to rise routine,” is by getting up an hour earlier each day. Giving your body time to adjust is going to help restore the natural sleep rhythms that increase clarity and creativity during the day.

Diet plays a part here as well. Those who want to survive over the long haul in online marketing would be encouraged to reduce their food and alcohol intake after 7:30 p.m.

Ultimately, the less you put in your mouth after the sun goes down, the better.

2. More Time Off, More Productivity

Not only is more sleep shown to make us more productive in the workplace, but more time off work has revealed similar results.

Holidays are similarly beneficial to sleep. In 2006, Ernst & Young did an informal research project among its staff. They wanted to find out what would happen if each staff member was given additional hours of vacation.

What the research showed was that for each additional 10 hours of vacation a staff member took, their end-of-year productivity increased by 8 percent.

Being able to switch off text entails discipline. Be willing to turn off your computer and put down your work and walk away from the office is habit forming.

You want your freelance business or agency to grow and expand. You want it to succeed and be able to engage more staff and create new services down the track. But that isn’t going to happen by simply increasing hours worked or even staff numbers.

Everyone feels the pressure to deliver search marketing results – whether it’s the client, provider, or stakeholders.

We’re all under pressure to improve organic search positions, boost ROI for big spending clients, and meet search and social media marketing targets. They have deadlines, and they have clients who demand excellent results.

The solution to delivering greater results won’t come through longer hours (you want to avoid burnout, not rush toward it!). It will come through developing better schedule habits.

3. Get Physical

In Andrew’s case (cited above), he began to make changes by adjusting his physical routine. Waiting 30 minutes earlier each morning, Andrew begins by doing 20 minutes of gentle stretching and exercising.

He then follows this up with some breakfast with the family and took a walk around 3 p.m. for 30 minutes.

The small change was enough to revolutionize his work and family life.

Supercharge Your Creativity

The cost of employees’ increased number of sick days and the higher number of staff turnover are good reasons to adopt better physical routines in the workplace.

Not only should you consider developing these habits yourself but you should also encourage these habits among your staff and allow your staff to adopt new routines in their own life.

4. Change Your Environment

We’ve seen Google make innovative changes to its workplace environment with good results. But those changes should go beyond color and leafy green jungle work stations.

Your work environment is a major factor in workplace health and safety, as well as employee longevity. It isn’t about being trendy or progressive. Nobody here cares if you have a ping pong table and a hammock next to you standing work desk.

What matters is the view.

Can you see beyond your monitor? What can you see?

There is a reason why those who spend all day in front of a monitor or gaming screen have no vision, no creativity, and no long-term planning ability.

Those who live in small spaces and work in small spaces have a hard time developing long-term vision.

The farther you can look, the farther you can see. If you can’t see far from your office, then allow time each day to get away from your desk and go for a walk where you can see. If you’re in the city, climb a building and look out over the roof tops.

Beyond the visual space, consider moving every 90 minutes to a different space – even if it’s only for 5 minutes. I know some people who have mid afternoon baths and then go back to work. A lot of clarity comes when you are splashing around in the water.

5. Implement a Six-Hour Work Day

In Sweden, changes in workplace hours have been shown to increase productivity.

Are you brave enough to try this in your own work routine for a month?

The key result of the Swedish experiment is that productivity will typically increase even though the hours have been reduced. It is only fear of decreased productivity that causes agencies and freelancers to resist making the change, or at least experimenting with it.

Of course, there will be times when additional hours are sometimes needed. But are you willing to take the challenge and refocus and realign your schedule with something that is going to result in long term productivity and long term results?

Summary

Time cannot be renewed – it can only be wasted or used productively.

Unlike time, however, our physical, psychological, and emotional strength can be reinvigorated and renewed with proper management.

Our physical, emotional, and mental strength can be exercised into routines and habits that prevent the burn out so common in the world of digital marketing and allow us to thrive over the long haul.


Featured Image Created by David Trounce using Pixabay CC0 License and Canva.

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Grow Your Small Business Faster with Social Media Web Design

Grow Your Small Business Faster with Social Media Web Design

Everyone is talking of the benefits of social media but the most important question is; how beneficial is social media and online marketing to a small business owner? Well, for starters, it basically depends on what the business person intends to achieve at the moment and of course in the near future. If you are […]

The post Grow Your Small Business Faster with Social Media Web Design appeared first on WordPress Howto Spotter.

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How to tell if your website is due a redesign

How to tell if your website is due a redesign

Designing a functional website doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and energy (and sometimes, a lot of money) to get your site in working order.

Like any other technology, the internet changes at a rapid rate. Users are utilizing various devices to view websites. For your users to maneuver through your website, you need to constantly update and adapt.

Plus, Google algorithms are constantly changing – your website’s usability affects your Google search rankings.

In short, you may not know that your website needs an overhaul. It’s tricky to keep up with the constant changes that take place behind the scenes. Thankfully, there are signs that your website needs a facelift.

Here are some of the signs that your website needs redesigning.

High bounce rate

The analytics of your website show more than how users navigate through your website. They also show whether or not you should be optimizing your website’s design.

One of the biggest analytics you should be looking at is your bounce rate. Below is a screenshot of where you can find this on Google Analytics under the Traffic Section found in “Acquisition”:

Your bounce rate is the rate at which users are leaving your website. What would cause a user to leave a website? Some factors include:

Slow loading pages

Google promotes high-quality content and pages for their users. Their algorithms rank pages with faster loading times higher than those who have slower loading times. A faster website is not only good SEO practice, it also affects how your users navigate on your page. If a user encounters a slower website, they won’t stick around.

You can check the speed of your website with the PageSpeed Insights tool, shown below. This doesn’t necessarily mean your site needs a total redesign (a few things just may need to be improved), but it can be a contributing factor.

For more tips for getting a handle on your site speed, check out Ann Smarty’s comprehensive piece, ‘All you need to master your site speed without getting overwhelmed‘.

Technical errors

Notice that your bounce rate is all of a sudden super high? Take a look at how long users are on your page. If they’re only sticking around for a few seconds, you may have a 404 issue.

Take a look at your site from your visitors’ point of view (use different browsers, as this can also be the issue). You can also use Google’s Search Console to check the Crawl Errors.

Poor user experience (UX)

Have you ever been to a website with so many popups you couldn’t find the actual content? Google punishes those types of websites, and the average user won’t stick around if they can’t find the content they’re looking for.

This also contributes to difficult navigation, causing the user’s experience to drop significantly. Make sure that your website’s map is coherent and flows comfortably for the average user.

Mobile friendly websites

You’ve heard that more and more users are utilizing their mobile devices to access the Internet. In fact, nearly 60% of searches are carried out on mobile devices. Make sure that your website’s buttons are easy enough to access via a mobile device. Ensure that your landing pages are accessible via a mobile phone.

Google has an excellent free tool that allows you to test how well your website responds on devices like smartphones and tablets. Simply enter in your website’s landing page, and let the tool tell you how well it performs on mobile devices. The tool searches on a standard operating level (3G). For example, we did a sample search for Google’s website just to give you an idea of how it works.

The tool shows how many seconds (or heaven forbid minutes) it takes to load your website on a mobile device. It also shows you the estimated percentage of visitor loss you experience due to your loading time. You also have the option to pull up a free report that shows how you can fix any issues that affect mobile loading time.

For a more in-depth exploration of how to test for issues with your mobile site speed, don’t miss Andy Favell’s column, ‘How to optimize your mobile site speed: Testing for issues‘.

Outdated web design

Have you ever heard that by the time you purchase a brand new computer, it’s already outdated? The Internet works the exact same way. By the time you update your website, it’s already depreciating.

Remember the websites of the 90s? Blinking buttons, grayscale and neon colors, and lots of graphics? While many of those websites are still functioning, they’re not enticing the modern user to visit them. For example, take a look at www.ifindit.com.

First impressions mean everything, and this goes for websites as well. You not only lose credibility with poor web design, you lose visitors. Haven’t updated your website in a while? Here’s a quick primer on one of the most current trends in web design:

Modular design

Stemming from the simplicity of newer websites, modular design is becoming more popular. The basic principle behind modular design is to use a single, flexible template that can be adapted to different kinds of content, rather than a custom-made template tailored to each specific content type. It’s the design equivalent of the intelligent content trend in content marketing.

While modular design isn’t always appropriate for 100% of cases, in many of them it is more efficient, less resource-intensive and is an easy design for users to navigate.

Here’s an example of a modular website design by Waaark design studio:

The takeaway

Think of your website as a brick and mortar business. If the shingles are falling off and your windows are boarded up, no one’s going to stop in. Sometimes it takes a little revamping to get things going again. When you’ve spent time and money designing your website, parting with the old and accepting the new is difficult.

Chances are, you aren’t aware that your website needs fixing. If your website needs an upgrade, the signs are right in front of you. Take a look at your website’s analytics – are there issues that can be improved? Adapt to the changing times and get your website mobile friendly.

Most of all, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something new with your web design. Overhauling your website may sound daunting, but taking the plunge will be worth the risk.

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her services at amandadisilvestro.com.

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6 Plugins for Accepting Bitcoin on Your WordPress Site

6 Plugins for Accepting Bitcoin on Your WordPress Site

Are you planning to accept payments on your WordPress site? Then you’ve probably already considered the usual eCommerce payment gateway suspects. With 79% of Americans shopping online, it makes sense to turn to the most popular—and trusted—forms of payment to support your site’s conversion process.

But what about cryptocurrency? Currently, only about 1.5% of Americans have ever actually owned or used bitcoins, but awareness of cryptocurrency is growing as nearly half of consumers have heard of it. As awareness grows, so too will adoption, which means it may be a good time to start thinking about adding Bitcoin payments or donations to your website.

Why Should Your WordPress Site Accept Bitcoin Payments?

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies haven’t gained quite as much traction as supporters originally thought it would (at least not in the mainstream), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable form of payment. In fact, it may be a more attractive option when you compare it to the usual payment processors you work with.

Here are some reasons why your website could benefit from accepting Bitcoin:

  • Digital: Because Bitcoin is a digital cash system and doesn’t require a third party banking entity to process the transaction, it is completely peer-to-peer. It’s all organized through a digital network (also known as a blockchain), which is basically just a ledger that keeps a secure and (pseudo-)anonymous record of all transactions.
  • Security: Bitcoin is what’s known as “pseudo-anonymous.” Obviously, a bitcoin needs to be linked to an individual in order for them to make a payment in the first place. However, unlike with credit card and banking payments, no personal information needs to be given out in order to do so, which may ease consumers’ concerns about making payments online.
  • Simplicity: Since it’s totally peer-to-peer, you don’t have to worry about consumers paying with a compatible financial solution. So long as they have a Bitcoin wallet, they’re good to go.
  • Cost: For the most part, Bitcoin transactions come with much smaller processing fees (if any).
  • Convenience: There is no waiting period before you can gain access to your new funds. Once money is transferred from customers’ wallets to your own, the money is yours to use. Just be aware that payments can’t be reversed—on either end—which means that if you plan on issuing refunds, it’s not as simple to do with Bitcoin.
  • Fraud: Each bitcoin has a hexadecimal code which is extremely difficult to crack. And because payments can’t be reversed, you won’t have to worry about fraudulent payments and the ensuing fees you have to pay for those chargebacks.

One thing to keep in mind here is that cryptocurrencies can be volatile, so you won’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Sure, there are clear benefits to accepting Bitcoin as a payment option, but the key word here is “option”. Bitcoin should be offered in addition to the other payment types accepted through your WordPress site; not in place of them.

6 Bitcoin Plugins You Can Use to Accept Payments on Your WordPress Site

Because there isn’t currently a huge demand for cryptocurrency payment compatibility in WordPress, you may be hard-pressed to find a plugin specifically built to accept Bitcoin payments. In all honesty, that’s probably fine since offering a more diverse range of payment types is likely to net you more sales than going 100% crypto.

The following list of WordPress plugins covers a wide range of options for accepting Bitcoin payments:

  • Digital Paybox Plugin

    This premium plugin for WordPress works solely for selling digital products. What it does is create a “paybox” where customers can select their payment portal of choice—BitPay (the one that accepts BitCoin) being one of them. They then submit their email address and order the digital product. This is a particularly great option if you’re trying to monetize a non-profit website since you can set minimum prices. Customers can then choose to “donate” more as they see fit.

    Interested in Digital Paybox Plugin?

  • Easy Digital Downloads Plugin

    Easy Digital Downloads is another WordPress plugin that enables users to set up payment gateways for their digital products. While the plugin itself is available for free in the WordPress repository, if you want to include payment gateways other than PayPal or Amazon Payments (i.e. BitPay), you have to purchase the premium extension.

    Interested in Easy Digital Downloads Plugin?

  • GoUrl Bitcoin Payment Gateway Plugin

    Now, for those of you who don’t want to pay for a Bitcoin payment gateway and want more options for accepted cryptocurrencies, give this plugin a look. This one is 100% dedicated to allowing users to accept cryptocurrency payments. It also works well if you’re trying to make money with WordPress. For example, you can sell physical and digital products, charge for access to gated content, offer paid memberships, and so on.

    Interested in GoUrl Bitcoin Payment Gateway Plugin?

  • GoUrl WooCommerce Plugin

    If you like how the GoUrl Bitcoin Payment Gateway plugin works and you’ve built your store using WooCommerce, then you’ll probably want this plugin add-on. It does the same exact thing as the other plugin (i.e. add a cryptocurrency payment gateway to your site), but it was built specifically for the WooCommerce platform.

    Interested in GoUrl WooCommerce Plugin?

  • Mollie Payments for WooCommerce Plugin

    As you know, adding too many plugins to your website can have a detrimental effect on site performance and security. So, if you want to add Bitcoin payments to your site and still want more common options available as well, the Mollie payment gateway might be the right choice for you. It includes credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, bank transfer, and more.

    Interested in Mollie Payments for WooCommerce Plugin?

  • Stripe Payment Gateway for WooCommerce Plugin

    When reviewing the top e-commerce payment gateways for WordPress, we named Stripe as the most developer-friendly platform. If you get excited about plugins that are flexible and easy to use and that will work with your WooCommerce site, you may want to consider this Stripe Payment Gateway plugin. It accepts Bitcoin payments in addition to credit cards, too.

    Interested in Stripe Payment Gateway for WooCommerce Plugin?

Wrapping Up

It’s interesting. Despite the appeal of new technology that’s supposed to make our travels through the world wide web more efficient and safer, it doesn’t seem as though Bitcoin has caught on with too many consumers. That said, 1.5% of the U.S. population isn’t a drop in the bucket. If there are roughly 323 million people in the U.S. right now, that means that nearly 5 million people pay with bitcoins.

If you really want to cater to your target audience and ensure that they’re receiving the best experience with your website, empower them to pay by whichever means they prefer. And with the help of one a WordPress plugin, you won’t have to install (or pay for) a variety of payment gateway plugins to do it. All you need is one really solid all-in-one plugin to take care of it for you.

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